Algeria-Egypt: a game under high tension
KHARTOUM - Algeria and Egypt clash Wednesday at 5:30 pm (GMT) in Khartoum in a play-off match qualifying of the Africa zone World cup 2010 in tension after the extreme climate of hatred that surrounded the return leg at Cairo last Saturday.
- Bus of the Algerian players stoned at their arrival, crazy scenario that leads to a match of support in Sudan (Egypt’s goal in added time), bus of Algerian supporters stoned after the game, rumours of the death of Algerians in Cairo, bellicose press, all ingredients for a match under very high tension are there.
The Sudanese authorities are aware, with 15,000 officers ready to respond to misbehaviour before, during and after the game. Forty-eight aircraft from Algeria and 18 from Egypt are expected, while 2000 Egyptian supporters were also making the trip by bus.
The stadium in Omdurman, Khartoum's twin city on the west bank of the Nile, where the match will be played, has a capacity of 41,000 seats, reduced to 35,000 for security reasons.
"We play football for fun not to create a war," tempered Hassan Shehata, coach of Egypt. "It will be a tough game. Both teams have an equal chance of winning and going to the World cup".
"I'm confident in this generation who has already won the African Cup of Nations twice in 2006 and 2008 is going to take that final step to qualify to the World cup, and realize the dream of 80 million "Egyptians," said president of the Egyptian federation, Samir Zaher.
"We'll show them who we are"
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane explains that "this is another game, we have forgotten what happened in Cairo, we will focus mainly on the psychological preparation of the group. The Fennecs are prepare to everything, the training on Monday ended with an exercise of shots on goal ...
The defender Madjid Bouguerra is more expansive: "We'll get our guts; noting can stop prevent us from achieving the qualification but with clean means. On neutral ground, we’ll show who we are".
Whatever the outcome of this game is, the treatment the diplomatic relations between the two countries will come afterwards. In an interview with “Jeune Independent", the Algerian Minister of Sports Hachemi Djiar responds: "I hope that the Algerians support us on what we are undertaking to win the match. We'll talk about other issues later. Let us avoid arguing now.”
The two countries are not the only ones concerned. Thus, in Marseille, the defeat Saturday of Algeria was followed by rioting in the city centre between a small group of young people and security forces heavily deployed with about 500 police.
Ennaharonline/ M. O.